Mismatches are always interesting to observe but we usually watch them sat in one of two camps: those desperate to see the annihilation of the underdog through some show-boating from the champ or those hoping to see the tortoise beat the hare. But who do you think will win the battle to gain the most significant economic development through the implementation of digital policies, China or the UK?
Ok, so it’s maybe not the headline grabbing, neon emblazoned battle that befits a Las Vegas main event but it will have a significant effect on our lives in the near future.
Matching the UK’s own Digital Strategy – which includes connectivity, data and cyber security ambitions, China has their own series of digital plans that include the ‘internet plus’ and a robotics industry plan. So why now are these two countries – amongst many more – placing so much emphasis on digital plans, and will they succeed?
The Why? Put simply – digital can enable efficiency and productivity and drive revenues and profit across ALL sectors. Both countries also have a focus on innovation and again digital technology can be a significant driver.
So if both countries have developed a myriad of digital plans – including many of the same topics – and both are pushing public money into supporting digital adoption and innovation will the results be equal?
Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball so I don’t know, but I will continue to watch each nation with interest and welcome the ability to understanding the successes and learning points from each implementation.
I will however make one initial observation: the plans in the UK place heavy emphasis on engaging individuals and helping them learn how to embrace and develop this new digital world. The Chinese plans seem to assume people will learn as part of their daily work, and whilst I’m sure there are skills-focused plans in there they are not as prevalent. Who, I wonder, has got this right? Should we assume people will learn out of necessity, should we accelerate their learning or is it just a case of different cultures?
The digital economy is part of the government’s vision of an economy driven by innovation – a key part of their goal of making domestic firms more competitive globally. In recent years, the Chinese government has pushed several national economic initiatives aimed at the development of the digital economy. These include the 13th Five Year Plan (March 2015), Made in China 2025 (May 2016), the Robotics Industry Development Plan (April 2016), and the Three-year Guidance for Internet Plus Artificial Intelligence Plan (May 2016). China has shown that it has ambitious plans to upgrade its economy and industrial policy – and these efforts are accelerating going into 2018.